Todd A. Pletcher

In the case of Todd Pletcher, it seems most appropriate that the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame is located in Saratoga Springs, New York, just across the street from the site of so many of the trainer’s remarkable moments. Pletcher’s first two graded stakes victories at Saratoga Race Course took place with horses he considers foundational to his Hall of Fame career. In 1998, Jersey Girl won the Grade 1 Test Stakes at the Spa. The following summer, More Than Ready gave Pletcher his second Saratoga graded win when he romped by 9¾ lengths in the Grade 2 Sanford.

Inducted

2021

Born

June 26, 1967, Dallas, Texas

Career

1996-

Wins

5,135

Earnings

$407,546,990

Racing Record

22.8

Win %

Biography

In the case of Todd Pletcher, it seems most appropriate that the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame is located in Saratoga Springs, New York, just across the street from the site of so many of the trainer’s remarkable moments. Pletcher’s first two graded stakes victories at Saratoga Race Course took place with horses he considers foundational to his Hall of Fame career. In 1998, Jersey Girl won the Grade 1 Test Stakes at the Spa. The following summer, More Than Ready gave Pletcher his second Saratoga graded win when he romped by 9¾ lengths in the Grade 2 Sanford.

“I’ve been extremely fortunate to have had such quality horses in my career, but I’ll always have great admiration for those two for really getting things going for the barn,” Pletcher said of Jersey Girl and More Than Ready. “Jersey Girl was the first Grade 1 winner we had (winning the trio of the Acorn, Mother Goose, and Test in succession) and More Than Ready was a phenomenal 2-year-old who really put us on the map. The fact they both won at Saratoga on that stage was very special and played a big role early on. Every owner wants to race and win at Saratoga and that early success with those two helped attract more good owners and horses.”

Pletcher’s dominance at the Spa has been an essential part of his Hall of Fame career. He owns a record 14 leading trainer titles at Saratoga and has 91 graded stakes wins (including 36 G1s) there since 1998. Through early November 2021, Pletcher has won 5,206 races (No. 8 all time) with record career earnings of $417,538,861.

Pletcher never envisioned such spectacular success. In fact, he said leaving his job as an assistant to Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas in late 1995 to branch out on his own was somewhat of a scary decision.

“At the time, Wayne’s operation was without question the best in the game. I was in a great spot,” said the 53-year-old Pletcher, “so there was definitely risk involved to try to make it on my own. You never know for sure how it will turn out, but being a trainer was all I ever wanted to do since I was a kid.”

Pletcher won his first race at Gulfstream Park in January 1996 with Majestic Number and was off and running. Twenty-five years later, Pletcher has a record seven Eclipse Awards and has trained 11 Eclipse Award-winning horses — Hall of Famer Ashado, English Channel, Fleet Indian, Lawyer Ron, Left Bank, Rags to Riches, Shanghai Bobby, Speightstown, Wait a While, Uncle Mo, and Vino Rosso — and 20 horses with earnings of $1.8 million or more. Along with his 14 Saratoga training titles, Pletcher has been the leading trainer at Gulfstream 17 times, Belmont 16 times, Aqueduct six times, Keeneland five times, and Monmouth twice.

When it comes to racing’s signature events, Pletcher has thrived, winning the Kentucky Derby with Super Saver (2010) and Always Dreaming (2017) and the Belmont Stakes with Rags to Riches (2007), Palace Malice (2013), and Tapwrit (2017). He has won 12 Breeders’ Cup races, including the 2019 Classic with Vino Rosso.

Pletcher, who has led all North American trainers in earnings 10 times, is quick to point out his success has been in large part a product of the team he has surrounded himself with professionally. His talented staff currently includes assistant trainers Tristan Barry, Ginny DePasquale, Byron Hughes, and Anthony Sciametta.

“You have to have the right people working with you to get the best results and to maintain high standards for the barn and the care of the horses,” Pletcher said. “All of the success is a team accomplishment. I work with some really good people who love what they do and are very good at it.”

Pletcher also said his family has played a vital role in fostering his passion for racing. His father, Jake, owns a training center in Florida and was a graded stakes-winning conditioner. Jake Pletcher is married to Todd’s stepmother, Joan. Pletcher also acknowledges the support he has received from his wife, Tracy, and their children, Hannah, Kyle, and Payton.

“I remember being 11 or 12 and telling my mom I wanted to train and she said it was wonderful. From that point on, with her endorsement, I never thought of doing anything else,” Pletcher said. “My dad and my mom have been incredibly supportive and influential … and Tracy and the kids are simply incredible. It’s so special to have them be part of the experience at the big events. The life of a trainer is unusual and demanding. Everything works for us because of how amazing Tracy is and how amazing the kids are. It means more to me than anything that they enjoy it and are able to share in it all.”

Achievements

Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer — 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2014

North America’s leading trainer in earnings — 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

Triple Crown Highlights

Won the 2010 Kentucky Derby — Super Saver
Won the 2017 Kentucky Derby — Always Dreaming
Won the 2007 Belmont Stakes — Rags to Riches
Won the 2013 Belmont Stakes — Palace Malice
Won the 2017 Belmont Stakes — Tapwrit

Breeders' Cup Highlights

Won the 2004 Distaff — Ashado
Won the 2015 Distaff — Stopchargingmaria
Won the 2004 Sprint — Speightstown
Won the 2007 Turf — Engliash Channel
Won the 2010 Juvenile Fillies Turf — More Than Real
Won the 2010 Juvenile Turf — Pluck)
Won the 2010 Juvenile — Uncle Mo
Won the 2012 Juvenile — Shanghai Bobby
Won the 2015 Dirt Mile — Liam's Map
Won the 2018 Juvenile Turf Sprint — Bulletin
Won the 2019 Classic — Vino Rosso
Won the 2021 Dirt Mile — Life Is Good 

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